If you put opinionated sports takes out there, there’s a good chance of some of them coming back to haunt you, whether via accounts devoted to the purpose like @OldTakesExposed (which jumped on this one here) or other people just remembering and citing them.

Deleting those takes usually only opens them up to more attention (the Streisand effect!), though, and that’s what SB Nation Chicago Cubs blogger Al Yellon found out Thursday when he deleted (update: it’s back!) his infamous 2013 open letter to Cubs’ president of baseball operations Theo Epstein. A cached version of the letter can be found here, and a screenshotted version follows (click to embiggen):


If you don’t have the time or patience for that, it’s a long rant about the Cubs not doing enough to win now, but the particular part that seems wrong in retrospect is this one:

Some of you are excited about Kris Bryant and penciling him into the lineup in 2015 or 2016 … the man isn’t even signed yet and hasn’t played a single professional game. Sure, he looks like a great talent and will likely succeed at the big-league level, but there are no guarantees.

I repeat, just so there is no misunderstanding: there are no guarantees with prospects. Sure, they look great now, and it appears that Theo & Co. have made good selections in their two years at this game. But if you think all of these players are going to be leading the Cubs to the postseason and the World Series in 2015, or 2016, or beyond, you have a better crystal ball than I do.

The article here isn’t necessarily that outrageous, especially considering when it was written. Yellon is far from the only writer or blogger to say that prospects don’t always pan out (they certainly did in Bryant’s case, but “there are no guarantees” isn’t wrong), that permanent rebuilds aren’t desirable, and that there can be benefits to sneaking into the postseason as a wildcard. With the Cubs doing so well and Epstein’s tank-and-rebuild strategy proving justified, though, this does look silly after the fact, and it was being regularly referenced by several Cubs’ fans.

Deleting this was the wrong strategy, though; it only draws more attention to it, especially considering that Yellon isn’t a favorite of many bloggers in the first place thanks to his fandom-on-his-sleeve, often old-school approach. It’s also interesting that Yellon’s response to those asking why he deleted the column appears to be just blocking them:



And he blocked those who commented on his blocking:

This isn’t necessarily a big deal in the grand scheme of things. It’s not like there was any important journalism in that initial post, or like Yellon committed journalistic wrongdoing (as is often the case with deleted posts). He just had an opinion that proved to be wrong.

However, deleting an old post just because you were wrong isn’t a great approach, and as this case shows, it usually helps bring that post even more attention. Yellon should consider that in the future.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.